Archive for July, 2012

See Ya Real Soon

This week saw the departure of two very important people in the lives of each member of my family.  After only one year, Father Art Niewiadomski really made a name for himself in our community.  Unfortunately for all of us in the area, he needed to downsize as he has been in less than ideal health and returned closer to his home.  Sunday as the congregation was filing out, I shook his hand, thanked him, and wished him well.  He, in turn, thanked me and encouraged me to continue to use my “wonderful gifts” and talent.  In the past 30 some years, I have really known 5 of the priests who have come into and gone out of the parish.  Father Art was undeniably the most outgoing, down-to-Earth, not to mention musical of them all.  It was so awesome that he took the time after each mass or funeral I sang for to thank me and to tell me what a “nice job” I always do.  Very humbling and made me feel really good inside and only over the course of one year!  Bon Voyage, Padre may you find good health in your next endeavor and bring as much joy and faith to your next port of call!

This afternoon, Aunt Cathy left after a two-month visit to return to her home in California.  Her being here was a HUGE help as we continue to see Dad struggle with health concerns of his own.  She transported him to doctor’s appointments and ballgames (even when he did not want to go; he usually sat in the car at the little league games).  Cathy was such a help to my Mom especially by taking a bit of the load off her.  We all know that Dad is going to have his days.  Last night, most of the family came by for one last visit before sending Cathy off to Detroit Metro.  By the end of the evening, Dad was actually laughing!  I’m not sure what brought that about but it was good to see (even if it was strained).  Plus, I have been told that he is no longer under 24-hour surveillance.  He can be left alone if need be!  This will hep once Mom starts driving the school bus in the coming weeks and on days that I am at work myself.  But I pray that we all continue to be there for both of them and lift them up!  As a farewell gift, Aunt Cathy and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises which we felt was the purrrrrfect way to end the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Batman trilogy.

THANK YOU BOTH!  What a difference you both have made in such a short time!


Nature Strikes Again

Wasn’t it just a few years ago that I reported on a “microburst” which swept the village hall to shambles?!  Last night around 11:00, another landmark was struck.  This area has been in almost desperate need of rain.  Our prayers were answered as lightning and thunder rolled throughout town.  While watching the Yankees handle the Blue Jays, a large booming “pop” was heard, felt, and seen.  No one knew where it originated from but undoubtedly, it was from one of those streaks of lightning that lit up the night sky.  Between 10:30 and 11:00, police cars, fire engines, and ambulances lined the street in front of the house so of course, I began to wander outside to investigate.  I did not get far before I came face to face with the unmistakable smell of smoke.  I could not see anything so I came back home and called my sister who lives right across from the United Methodist Church (my house stands 5 buildings to the north of the church).  “Yes, the church is on fire!”  This would explain the pop that went off about a half-hour earlier!

At approximately 11:45, I saw the smoke and flame from outside our dining room window.  Initially, heavy smoke was reported coming out of the steeple and higher parts of the building.  Eventually, flames erupted and the roof caved in, injuring one of the dozens of firefighters from 15 surrounding communities.  The firefighter was transported to an area hospital with non life-threatening battle scars.  I went across the street to the empty school lot to investigate along with dozens of others some of whom were out of towners who had gotten off 2nd shift jobs.  Thankfully, the blaze was contained and did not spread.  However, the battle was fought well into the night/early morning.

This morning, the damage could really be seen.  Holes in the roof.  Stained glass windows on the north and south sides of the building blown out.  Remarkably, the bell tower was still hanging on and the windows on the east side of the church were still intact.

I personally have had a relationship with the church over the years.  Each summer, my brothers and sister attended Vacation Bible School.  The church has sponsored our village’s Cub Scout pack for a number of years.  Each year, the pack participated in a service by providing alter boys, readers, and other functions.  Over the last several years, the church has held Wednesday Night meals and provided a food pantry for the needy in the area.

Another landmark that has stood over 75 years brought down by nature’s fury.  May God be with the rescue teams who responded so bravely, the one who was injured, and most importantly, the congregation of Edgerton United Methodist Church as they will rally together and continue to follow the Lord.


Au Unbelievably Blessed Weekend And Some Exercise

This weekend saw the penultimate weekend for our awesome priest as well as my brother performing 21 baptisms.  I was exceedingly blessed and humbled to be a part of them.  Father Art regaled the congregation once again with a tale of his days on board his naval ship during the Cold War in the 1970s.  On board ship, there were a number of musicians who frequently played on the flight deck.  In international waters, the admiral encouraged them to go aft and serenade the Russian vessel which was just behind them.  The American vessel started off with “Anchor’s Aweigh” which the Russian’s answered with an appropriate tune from their country.  The tunes would continue to volley with selections like “The Marine’s Hymn” (because NO ONE could beat the USA Marine corps), “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In” (played by the Russians), and finally “Sweet Georgia Brown.”  After hearing SGB, the Russians turned around and headed back into their own space… WHY?  The song is widely known as the theme for the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, the wizards of the hardwood.

Finally, the lesson of Amos the sheep herder and fig gatherer who claimed that he was not “a prophet nor the son of a prophet” (7:14) was elaborated on. Yet, everyone is called to proclaim the peace regardless of their profession.  This lead to a serenade of “Let There Be Peace on Earth” begun by solo sax and later joined by male tenor voice.  SO glad I was called to fill in for a song leader who had other plans for Saturday night.

This morning was equally blessed and awesome.  A few weeks ago, I was asked by my brother if I had ever thought about being baptized as an adult.  Honestly, I was not sure if I could given my Catholic faith of which I have not been asked to leave nor ever would.  But after prayer, much thought, and knowing that Chris would NEVER do anything that would jeopardize my faith, I was very honored to be one of the first people he has baptized.  Minutes after the ceremony, I found myself feeling even more blessed and strong.  I was also honored to witness Llama, Goose, and 18 others also affirm their faith!

Watching Chris deliver his message, I am sure everyone could see how excited and moved he was by becoming speechless with tears of joy forming in his eyes.  I adored his lesson on the “topsy-turvy/upside-down” practices of Satan.  Peter stating to Christ hours before the crucifixion that the apostles would fight for him.  Jesus actually calls him a Satan and a hypocrite. Judas, himself, being paid 30 pieces of silver to betray his teacher.  Both of these point to doing what is “right” for the individual and not what is “right” for HIM.

On a tangent of my own…. Last night seconds before mass was to begin, the organist and I discovered that the sound system was not turned on.  Being clear in the back of the church in the choir loft, I had to quickly travel to the front where the switch is and turn the mikes on and quickly return to the loft.  Where were my red cape and tights when I needed them 😉

Thanks be to GOD for bringing Father Art and Chris to lead and to prepare those who want to follow and be closer to HIM on their next step to a life of faith.  Love to you both.


On The TV Box Again

There are a lot of forms of success.  Yesterday was full of fun although the end may not have been as successful as some might think to me it was a very fun time!  My aunt took me to breakfast for my birthday before I had to go to work.  After work and grabbing a bite to eat, I headed out armed with the GPS to the city for the Millionaire casting call.  I arrived at my hotel in good time (enough to watch a rather depressing All Star Game).  I did manage to get a few hours of sleep before I woke at 4AM.  I arrived at the Hilton about 5AM and was given instructions on where the other auditioners were assembling (the doors did not open until 6).  I was pleasantly surprised in seeing only 25-30 people in front of me.  I was not sure if there would be people with tents and sleeping bags or not.  I also noticed the local tv crew on the scene.  I texted the house to have someone start taping… just in case.  However, for whatever reason, my sister (who drops her daughters at the house before she goes to work at 6) failed to receive the message. Figures since the gentleman right in front of me was interviewed. I will have to keep checking the site to see if the segment pops up.

By 6AM, there was a good number of people in line.  The camera travelled the length of the line along with staff from Millionaire who encouraged us to show some enthusiasm.  Of course, that was not difficult for me.  Some of the people behind me were a bit camera shy wishing for a paper bag to put over their head.  Honestly, what would happen if one of them were selected to be on the show if they could not be on film for a passing camera?

At about 6:15, the first 300 were corralled into a waiting room where t-shirts were thrown out.  Then came the big moment.  We were shown to the the testing site where we were given a 10 minute 30 question multiple choice test.  I thought I was back in grade school with a bubble test with a number 2 pencil.  This made it extremely easy to learn who passed since the cards with our responses were fed into an electronic reader. Although I thought that I had done well, my number was not one of the many of my group who were announced.  However, there were a few from my table who did.  Plus, a friend from the theater who was in a later group successfully completed the test and was to return for an interview at noon.  Good luck, Squirmy!

On my way home, I stopped into Wal-Mart where one of my former co-workers said that she had seen me on the news.  After  grabbing some breakfast at McD’s, I came home and crashed.  So although I will not be advancing to NYC and being asked “Is That Your Final Answer?”, the experience was priceless.  Plus, he newscast at noon reported that the response was so positive that there may be another cattle call in the future.

Who Wants To?

I think I must have been in the right place Friday afternoon.  On my lunch hour, I was watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. During the last commercial break, an ad promoting auditions in my neck of the woods came across.  I thought to myself… well maybe I will go.  After prayer and consideration, I made the decision that YES I WILL GO! I remember  back about 13 years ago after the premiere episode hosted by Regis, I dialed the then “900” number to play the fastest finger round and tried to make the cut.  A few years later after trying each time the opportunity arose (eventually, the number became toll-free), I successfully completed round one and waited for a follow up call the next day. Alas, I was unsuccessful in round two.

This Wednesday beginning at 7AM, I will be attending one of the show’s Summer Tour audition calls.  Instead of once again getting up at 4AM, I decided to make a reservation and stay  the night.  Five years ago, I had one of the best experiences in the city when my best friends, our chauffeur, and I made our way to the television studio to promote one of our community theater’s productions.  I think this experience will be very fun.  And I am not thinking about anything but this initial step.

So at this point, I just pray that I am safe in my journey and have as much fun with the experience as possible!